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更新时间:2018-6-5 19:26:36 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

In Vancouver, a Housing Frenzy That Even Owners Want to End

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Between multimillion-dollar tear-downs, blocks full of backyard cottages and towering condominiums that are sold and resold several times before they are even built, there is no shortage of anecdotes about this city’s housing frenzy.


Here is a new one: Vancouver is so expensive that politicians want to tax its real estate market into submission, and many homeowners — who will lose money if home prices fall — think it’s the best idea they’ve heard in years.


“I would like to see a correction to sober up this whole place,” said Rob Welsh, a retired airplane mechanic who lives in a Vancouver suburb. Mr. Welsh bought his house in 2000 and has become a paper millionaire based on its appreciation. It makes him more anxious than happy.

住在温哥华郊区的退休飞机机械师罗布·韦尔斯(Rob Welsh)说:“我希望有一场纠正,让整个地方清醒过来。”他于2000年买了自己的房子,因为升值而成为了纸面上的百万富翁。比起快乐,这更让他感到焦虑。

“If I got to lose 200 or 300 grand to keep the kids and the future of this place, so be it,” he said.


Like many cities around the world, Vancouver is grappling with punishing housing costs that have pushed out large swaths of residents — and are causing distress among young adults who can’t afford rent today and take it for granted that they will never own a home.


Part of the reason is the attraction of Vancouver itself, and not just among Canadians. Between its natural beauty, its temperate climate and Canada’s liberal immigration policies, the city has become a magnet for foreign buyers, especially from China.


Many places, in both Canada and the United States, have tried remedies to the squeeze: tenant protections, housing subsidies and steps to enable developers to build higher and faster so that more housing will come online. But few have gone as far as British Columbia.


Last year, in a provincial election almost entirely about housing costs, citizens voted out the center-right B.C. Liberal Party, which had run British Columbia for 16 years, and brought in a government led by the left-of-center B.C. New Democratic Party. Since then, the New Democrats have not only tried to increase the housing supply, but have also proposed a slew of measures that aim to curb housing demand and chase away overseas buyers.

去年,在一场几乎完全围绕住房成本的省级选举中,公民投票否决了领导不列颠哥伦比亚省16年的中间偏右的不列颠哥伦比亚自由党(B.C. Liberal Party),让中间偏左的不列颠哥伦比亚新民主党(B.C. New Democratic Part)上台。自那时起,新民主党不仅试图提高住房供应量,还提出了一系列旨在抑制住房需求、驱赶外国买家的措施。

The New Democrats raised British Columbia’s foreign-buyer tax to 20 percent of a home’s purchase price, from 15 percent. (Ontario has a 15 percent tax.) In addition, the party plans to impose higher property taxes on second homes, on families whose primary breadwinner’s earnings come from money abroad and on homes valued at more than 3 million Canadian dollars ($2.3 million). Vancouver has passed a number of local measures, including a tax on empty homes.


“There’s no question that many of the measures we are bringing in are bold, but we felt they were critical if we were really going to address this crisis,” Carole James, British Columbia’s finance minister, said in an interview.

“毫无疑问我们推出的很多措施都很大胆,但我们觉得如果真的要解决这场危机,它们是关键,”不列颠哥伦比亚省财政部长卡罗尔·詹姆斯(Carole James)在一次采访中说。

This would seem politically perilous. Two-thirds of Canadians own their homes, roughly the same share as in the United States. And Canadians, like Americans, expect to make money from the investment. Yet a number of polls, and interviews with homeowners like Mr. Welsh, suggest that Vancouverites are so shocked at the price levels that even homeowners want the market to cool.


In 2016, the nonprofit Angus Reid Institute in Vancouver found that roughly two-thirds of residents in the metropolitan area wanted home prices to fall, including half of homeowners. More startling was that one in five homeowners in the survey expressed a desire to see home prices fall by 30 percent or more.

2016年,温哥华的非盈利组织安格斯·里德学院(Angus Reid Institute)发现,这个大都会地区几乎三分之二的居民希望房价下降,包括一半的房屋拥有者。更让人震惊的是,调查中有五分之一的房主表示,希望看到房价下跌30%甚至更多。

No doubt, many voters would think twice about that opinion if home prices actually crashed. Still, respondents “were clearly reacting from a place of deep anxiety, even desperation, about their own or their loved ones’ ability to access the housing market,” said Shachi Kurl, executive director of Angus Reid.

毫无疑问,如果房价真的暴跌,许多选民会重新考虑这个观点。尽管如此,受访者的反应“显然是由于他们对自己,乃至他们所关爱的人进入房市的能力存在深深的焦虑,甚至是绝望,”安格斯·里德执行董事沙奇·库尔(Shachi Kurl)说。

And so far, people like what they see from the new government’s attempts to rein in the market: In a separate Angus Reid poll this year, large majorities of British Columbians supported the housing measures proposed by the New Democratic government.


“Unbeknownst to many people in the local population, Vancouver has been sold as a subsidized resort town and retirement community to the world,” said Josh Gordon, a political science professor at Simon Fraser University here. “We are now seeing the culmination of that dynamic.”

“当地许多人并不知道,温哥华已经作为一个受资助的度假村和退休社区向全世界出售,”西蒙·弗雷泽大学(Simon Fraser University)政治学教授乔什·戈登(Josh Gordon)说。“我们正在目睹这种趋势的顶点。”

Vancouver, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and wide maritime views, has never been especially cheap. But home and condominium prices are up by close to 16 percent over the past year, and about 60 percent over the past three, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

温哥华被白雪皑皑的山脉和广阔的海景包围,房价从未特别便宜。根据大温哥华区房地产委员会(Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver)的数据,过去一年,家庭和公寓住宅价格上涨近16%,过去三年上涨约60%。

What makes these gains so remarkable is that unlike Silicon Valley, London or New York — where the presence of high-paying tech and finance jobs helps explain housing costs — Vancouver has relatively low salaries. As part of their bid for Amazon’s second headquarters, Vancouver officials boasted about having “the lowest wages of all North American tech hubs.”


“We have plenty of jobs, but you might need two or three of them to be able to afford a place to live,” said Andy Yan, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser.

“我们有很多工作,但你可能需要两三个人的工资才能负担得起住处,”西蒙·弗雷泽城市项目主管安迪·严(Andy Yan)说。

How much of the city’s housing demand is coming from China is hotly debated. Government statistics show that foreign buyers own about 5 percent of the housing stock in the metropolitan area, but the numbers are several times as high for new condominiums, which helps to explain why a surge of building hasn’t done much to reduce prices, according to an analysis by Mr. Yan. And this almost certainly underestimates the influence of foreign capital, since the data exclude Canadian immigrants with money from overseas.


The real estate industry contends that the issue is not an influx of Chinese, who have been coming to Vancouver for decades, but zoning restrictions that prioritize low-density living, outside of a few high-rise areas.


“I live 15 minutes from the downtown core in a house,” said Keith Roy, a real estate agent. “That’s crazy. I should be in a townhouse at this distance, maybe even a low-rise condo building.”

“我住在距市中心15分钟车程的一座独栋房子里,”房地产经纪人基思·罗伊(Keith Roy)说。“太疯狂了。在这种地段,我应该住的是联排别墅,甚至可能是低层共管公寓。”

The figures show, however, that unlike other expensive West Coast cities like San Francisco, where the housing supply has long lagged behind population growth, Vancouver has consistently produced new housing. Over the past decade, the housing stock has grown by about 12 percent, while the population has grown by about 9 percent, according to the city.


This disparity has persuaded the city to broaden its measures beyond just a push for new buildings to efforts like the empty homes tax.


“It’s getting out of the mind-set that just more is better,” said Gil Kelley, the city’s general manager of planning, urban design and sustainability.

“人们不再认为多多益善,”温哥华规划、城市设计和可持续发展总经理吉尔·凯利(Gil Kelley)说。

Tom Davidoff, an economist at the University of British Columbia, said it was all of the above. Vancouver is popular with foreign buyers, yes. But it also has strict zoning laws that reserve most of the city’s land for single-family homes, as well as high income taxes but low property taxes of about a quarter of a percent of the property value.

不列颠哥伦比亚大学的经济学家汤姆·戴维杜夫(Tom Davidoff)说,以上都是房价高的原因。是的,温哥华很受外国买家欢迎。但它也有严格的分区法律,把城市大部分土地用做独户住宅,此外它的收入所得税很高,但物业税很低,仅占物业价值的四分之一左右。

“The message we have sent the world is, ‘Come and buy our real estate, but do not try to make a living here,’” Mr. Davidoff said. “Mission accomplished.”


While the new government’s housing measures are popular with many voters, richer homeowners are fuming. A recent stroll through Vancouver’s wealthier West Side turned up bright red signs protesting the tax on $3 million homes. “Are you angry yet?” read one. “Rally against the N.D.P. tax grab now.”


A group of wealthy homeowners also petitioned to get Mr. Davidoff, the economist, fired. His sin: talking favorably about increased property taxes.


However it happened, Vancouver’s transformation to an international gateway has given the city something of an identity crisis. For Vancouverites who a generation ago took it for granted that they could buy a home or condo near the urban core, the trade-offs for the steep rise in prices are hard to accept.


“People who live and work in Vancouver can’t afford to live here,” said Nathalie Baker, a lawyer who is in favor of measures to cool the market, even though she owns a home here. “And that is a very significant problem.”

尽管在温哥华拥有一栋房子,但律师娜塔莉·贝克尔(Nathalie Baker)依然赞同采取措施冷却市场。她说:“在温哥华生活和工作的人却不能居住在这里,这是一个非常严重的问题。”